Canberra Prelate Tries to Avert Suicides by Farmers

CANBERRA, Australia, JUNE 9, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The president of the Australian bishops’ conference appealed to residents of drought-stricken rural areas to avoid falling into despair and to banish all thoughts of suicide.

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Archbishop Francis Carroll of Canberra stressed the sacredness of life.

“It is the most precious good entrusted to our stewardship,” he said. “Life is far more important than any material good and any harvest lost through drought.”

The poorest farmers in the Archdiocese of Canberra have been hit by shortages that keep their economic activity in constant check and endanger their families’ livelihood.

The drought has lasted for four years, causing an alarming rise in the number of suicides. The high incidence of suicides led the archbishop to remind the farmers that God’s providence never abandons mankind, not even in the most trying moments.

The prelate, 74, has called for a day of prayer for rain this coming Sunday, in churches across the archdiocese, and also for those families who mourn the tragic loss of loved ones.

The archbishop also urged local authorities to provide adequate assistance for farmers and the families affected by drought and food shortage.

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ZENIT Staff

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